Welcome to the Irish Culture & Customs newsletter which is published every fortnight or so and sent out to over 4500 readers all over the world. You are receiving this newsletter because you signed up for it - God Bless you! If you'd like to read past issues, they are archived at:
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Greetings and Blessings to all,

To paraphrase ee.cummings, here in our Ohio Valley the world is mud luscious and puddle wonderful.
And to recast a Browning verse:

The year's at the spring,
the taxes are paid
God's in his heaven,
All's right with the world!

Mid-April is always a mixture of joy in the Haggerty household. We delight in what Russ describes as the wedding bower look of all the white blossoms which have emerged since we last wrote. Simultaneously, we worry about the tax man and how much we will owe - we always owe! This year it wasn't as bad as we thought it might be, so that was a relief. May it be so for you and yours as well.

In other news, Bridget had fourteen inches of hair lopped off and sent to Locks of Love, an organization which creates wigs from the donations for cancer patients. Family and friends say she looks younger. She feels a few ounces lighter. Everyone's happy!

Enough about us. We hope this edition finds you in good spirits, good health and good company. If you have just joined us and this is your first issue, many thanks for becoming a part of the group. We also hope that if you like our musings and meanderings, you will share them with your family and friends.

Enough of the blitherin' ...on with the update:
SPONSOR: Please help us keep your newsletter coming - visit our good friends at Lollysmith:
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From the mailbag
Quips, Quotes, Proverbs & Toasts
A Bit of the Wit
Joke of The Week
Did You Know
Know Your Writers
The week That Is
Leave 'em Laughing
What follows are news clips from around the counties and the world. Links for more news stories can be found on our web site here
And more county news can be found here:

Aer Lingus To Recommence Repatriation Of Remains Through Shannon
Patrick Ryan & Daughter Funeral Directors of Ealing, West London, said it has received confirmation that Aer Lingus is to resume its repatriation service between Shannon International Airport and London-Heathrow.  The introduction of this service means that funerals may now take place in Ireland a day earlier than before. Remains will be flown to Dublin on the late Heathrow flight before being transported on the final leg of the journey to Shannon Airport on one of two early morning transatlantic flights.  The ending of the original service had added to the trauma of family members who were forced to travel to Cork or Dublin to bring their loved ones home.

Antrim: Elderly residents mourn loss of post office
Some of the long-term residents of the Ormeau Road area of Belfast have been bemoaning the anticipated closure of their local post office. Ellen McAllister from Shaftesbury Avenue believes that the post office has become a community meeting point for everyone in the area, while Anna Robinson, who has lived there for nearly fifty years, says they will be losing a lifeline.

Armagh: New arrival at Portmore
Portmore Lough Reserve had a new arrival on St Patrick's Day, a foal born to a mare belonging to the herd of nine Polish ponies which arrived at the reserve just two months ago. The foal, named appropriately Portmore Paddy, is the first Konik foal born in Ireland. The animals were imported into Northern Ireland as part of a conservation project to protect birdlife.

Clare: Wanted - positive memories of Kilrush landlords
The present owners of the Vandaleur Estate in Kilrush are appealing for any information or stories relating to the Vandeleur family, for possible inclusion in a book. The family's reputation is less than illustrious since it is said they were responsible for the eviction of more than six thousand tenants at the height of the Famine. According to estate manager Susanne Matejka the aim is not to re-write history but to gather a wider picture of the family at their west Clare home. Kilrush house, built at the beginning of the nineteenth century, burnt down in 1897 but the walled gardens have since been developed as a tourist amenity.

Cork: St Fin Barre's to recover its voice
Over the next few weeks the bells of St Fin Barre's Cathedral in Cork will ring out once again, after having been sent to Britain for refurbishment. The metal frame which held the original eight bells was found to be in such a state of decay that it had to be replaced, and the cathedral authorities decided to have the bells refurbished at the same time. And not only have the original bells arrived back in Cork, but a further five smaller bells have also been purchased to extend the range of sound.

Down: Chicago dancer returns to her roots
Maureen Foster, an associate of the Trinity Academy of Irish Dancing, was determined to attend this year's World Irish Dancing Championships since they were being held in the country from which her mother had emigrated as a young child in 1925. Maureen has a photograph taken eighty-three years ago of the Bell family, with her grandparents Sam and Ellen who left Crossgar to settle in Chicago with their eleven children. And to make her visit even more special, while she was in the North Maureen stayed in the house in which her grandmother had been born.

Dublin: Theatre developed at Pearse birthplace
The house on Dublin's Pearse Street which was the birthplace of Padraig Pearse is in the hands of the Ireland Institute and a theatre has been created at the rear of the building. The Institute, which promotes the ideals of republicanism but has no links to political parties, has as its president the artist Robert Ballagh, and he it was who put in place a plaque on the wall of the building, which has been totally renovated. The Pearse Centre, which was officially opened at the weekend, is to host a series of lectures on Ireland after the Good Friday Agreement.

Galway: Kevin gets the gold key
The concierge at Glenlo Abbey Hotel has become the only Galway member of a prestigious group of his fellow professionals. Kevin Prunty has been presented with Les Clefs d'Or by the president of the Irish branch, Brendan Spence. He will now have the right to attach to his lapels the gold keys, symbols of the international association of professional hotel concierges.

Kildare: Early morning visit to new Kilcullen sculpture
A sculpture created by local artist Noel Scullion was the focus for a small group of people one early morning recently when they gathered at the site in the Dun Ailinne Interpretive Park to watch the rising sun shining through a hole in the structure. The granite piece is based on a javelin head found in the hill of Dun Ailinne some thirty years ago. It is to have its official unveiling in July, a ceremony which will be attended by Professor Bernard Wailes of the University of Pennsylvania, the archaeologist who carried out the excavations at the site.

Longford: Ballymahon Italianate house goes on market
A house built in the mid-eighteenth century by the Dean of Waterford, the Very Rev. Cuttls Harman, as a hunting lodge for Newcastle House, has been put on the market. The design of Castlecor House, on the outskirts of Ballymahon, was based on the hunting palace of the dukes of Savoy near Turin and is dominated by an octagonal ballroom featuring a marble floor and plasterwork on the walls and ceiling. Over its two and a half century history the house and its ten acres of grounds have also been used as a gentleman's residence, a convent and a nursing home.

Monaghan: Threemilehouse farm opens to the public
An alternative to eating too many Easter eggs on Easter Sunday was provided by Seamus Keenan when he threw open his farm to the public. Offering more than the usual cows, sheep and horses, Seamus has alpacas, a miniature horse, pot belly pigs, toy machinery to be enjoyed by the children and a variety of vintage farm machinery for their elders to admire. PJ Cassidy was also on hand to demonstrate his skills in his fully functioning forge.

Roscommon: Local victory in angling competition
Mark O'Connor from Boyle was the winner of the Easter Pike Angling Competition with a catch of 25lbs 15oz. For his achievement Mark was presented with the Moonstone Jewellers Perpetual Cup and a cheque for €3,500. The event took place at Lough Key and was organised by Boyle and District Angling Club.

Sligo: End of a Sligo legend
Woods shop on Castle Street, one of the oldest shops in Sligo town, is to be demolished to make way for a new residential and retail development. The shop was opened by the Woods family in 1841 though prior to that date the family owned a shop on High Street. The shop, which sold hardware, household goods and toys, closed just over two years ago after having been bought by the Quinn family. The frontage of the shop will be maintained as it is a protected building, but the rear of the premises, where it opens onto Rockwood Parade, will see two four-storey blocks replacing the existing sheds and outbuildings.

Westmeath: Children benefit from flashing cameras
On April Fool's Day an Athlone photographer joined his fellow members of the Irish Professional Photographers Association to take portrait photographs to raise money for Angels Quest, a children's charity. Corin Bishop invited anyone over the age of four years to come along to Reeves Art Studio for a portrait photograph. He was one of a hundred photographers from all over Ireland taking part in the Happy Faces Day 2008, which is now in its third year.

Wexford: Centenary hurling photograph unveiled in Gorey
A photograph of a hurling team and a commemorative plaque were officially unveiled last week at Naomh Eanna GAA Club in Gorey by Seán Stafford to mark the centenary of the photograph, taken in 1907. In attendance were members of 12 of the 17 families represented in the photograph, including Doyles, Breens, Redmonds, Kirwans and Byrnes.

Boston, Mass: A Mother's Son and the Marines
An Irish American mother who lost her son in Iraq last year used the $20,000 death benefit she received from the government to fly her son's whole platoon from North Carolina to Boston to participate in the St. Patrick's Day parade in her son's honor. To read the story in its entirety, please click

USA: Benedict the Builder Comes to America
Pope Benedict arrives in the USA on Tuesday. He will be greeted at Andrews Air Force Base by President Bush, Mrs. Bush, nd local dignitaries of the church and the apostolic nuncio. For more details please click

USA: High Kings to join Celtic Woman Tour
After receiving rave reviews opening for Celtic Woman recently at NYC's famed Radio City Music Hall, The High Kings have accepted the  invitation to join them as special guests on the Celtic Woman tour through June 2008.  The High Kings headlining tour originally planned for spring will begin in the fall

Jack & Lee write:
 I am Emailing you once again to see if we can keep Tommy Murphy's show on air as in last weeks show he was saying that he only had two email's. I think he could be thinking of closing the show. Of course I am not certain about that but he did sound a bit down because he doesn't really know how the show is going with the email's. I thought if we could take a minute or two out of the week and email Tommy just to let him know how things are going in your part of the world and also to send in a little request for him to play for you. We would hate to see him go off air as I know he really does enjoy bringing the music to you all. I know that the days seem to pass us by quickly and we do forget, but if you can send them by Tuesday you will be in time.
ED. NOTE: The show is on Shamrock Radio out of Co. Mayo. Here is the URL:
We just put in a request for all of the readers. If you would like to make one as well, here is Tommy's email address:

John writes: Please, can you tell me about the old Irish custom of writing someone's name in a book and then striking it through. In my all time favourite film, `The Quiet Man',  Squire Danahar has this done to Sean Thornton  (John Wayne).
ED. NOTE: We've always believed that this was a form of "writing someone off "- but which came first - the action, or the phrase - and why? Does anyone know?

Muriel writes: My paternal grandmother Mary Margaret Breen Marrinan, when she came to America from Ennistymon, Co. Clare in the 1800's, brought with her an album in which a poem was written that I want to retrieve. Some of the lines I remember said, "And smite the Saxon tyrant under and claim a throne we can call our own!" Another line, "True Celts were never known to quail the lightning blast or fiery hail!" The last line reads, "And fight for God and Innisfree!" Would this be familiar to someone out there? I would be most grateful to have this poem in full.

Joe writes: I am doing a timeline of the Irish leisure and recreation activities. My job is to start from the earliest and go to most recent. Is there any way you could help me out on your top five in each leisure and recreation. It can be anything they thought of doing as a pastime for either leisure or recreation. If there is any feed back you could give that would be great, thank you
Irish Lesson with Celtic Harpist Dennis Doyle
A great site For anyone wishing to learn more than a few basic irish phrases plus get the phonetic pronunciation :

The Irish Page
This time around, Jack and Vivian offer a traditional Irish song.  It was probably sung to tease a young woman who'd been observed casting her eyes on the piper more than once during the evening. It is called Téir abhaile 'riú  - Go home with you. Please click

The Mighty Clan Moran
Is your surname Moran? Irish America takes a closer look at the interesting folk who make up the clan Moran. Please click

News from and about Jim Crotty
Jim is one of our generous Trivia Quiz sponsors and his prize is the gorgeous shamrock print you can see on our Trivia Page here:
While we're sad to report that Jim & his family are moving away from our region to Texas at the end of June, we were very happy to learn that Jim will continue his photography business on line. Click here for his web site and all his news, which includes being selected as a judge in the prestigious "Shoot the Hills" photography competition - well done, Jim!

Patricia Harrington's Bridget O'Hern Series
In our last newsletter, we neglected to thank Patricia for giving us the opportunity to auction off a character in her next book "Death Tours in Ireland." Mea culpa, Patricia! We are in the midst of reading her latest work "Death Comes Too Soon" and enjoying it immensely. To learn more about Patricia and all of her books, please click:

Vote for Dublin water-colourist Roger Commiskey
Roger is another of our generous sponsors and he's asked us to ask you to vote for his "Women of Dublin" work in the Curator's Choice Awards. Just click on the April 2 button on the right-hand side when you reach the site:

Cold Play and an amazing dancer
Whether or not you enjoy their music, you owe it to yourself to take a look at the lady in this video. Some say it's a hoax. Perhaps we're being naive, but we think she's real. Take a look and see what you think:

Around Ireland
Around Ireland is a mobile documentary project completed as part of the MSc in Multmedia Systems at Trinity College Dublin. The four photographers involved travelled the 32 counties of Ireland, gathering video and images on mobile phones over the course of the Summer of 2006. To find out more about them and to view their images, please click

Free Mammograms
Many women can't afford the test, but here's how you can help: Go to the Breast Cancer site and click on their free mammogram link; if the site gets enough clicks , they'll be able to donate at least one free mammogram a day to underprivileged women. It takes just a minute and there's no cost involved:

Free Pet Food!
Last but certainly not least - our ongoing gift to AG in California and all friends to animals, please click this link today and everyday. It only takes a second to feed an animal. Thanks!

Free People Food!
It only takes a second to feed hungry people, too:
SPONSOR: Please help us keep our newsletter coming - visit our friends at the Celtic Attic:
Happy Spring! We are running a special promotion in April. Spend $50 and receive a $5 Gift Certificate. Spend $100 and receive a $10 Gift Certificate. Certificates are valid for your next order and will be mailed to you with your order. The next time you order, simply put the code into the Add a Gift Note section and we will deduct it from your total after your order is placed. Also, receive free shipping on all orders over $100 and a FREE copy of the Celtic Attic Cookbook PDF with all orders.
Order on line or by phone - and tell them Bridget & Russ said hello!
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Order on line:
The English language brings out the best in the Irish. They court it like a beautiful woman. They make it bray with donkey laughter. They hurl it at the sky like a paint pot full of rainbows, and then make it chant a dirge for man's fate and man's follies that is as mournful as misty spring rain crying over the fallow earth. T E Kalem
From the moment I picked up your book until I laid it down, I was convulsed with laughter. Some day I intend reading it.
From the Galway Independent. They don't give an attribution - it sounds like a G.B. Shaw, but we're not sure. Can anyone confirm?
From the Good Clean Funnies List/Thomas Ellsworth

Flying home after visiting her daughter in Ireland, a woman arranged to have her husband meet her plane at the Vancouver, B.C., airport. This meant a stop at the border crossing between the United States and Canada, where her husband was asked, "What is your reason for entering the country?" and "How long are you planning to stay?"

He replied that he was picking his wife up at the airport after her trip to Ireland.

Without missing a beat, the guard asked two more questions
in the same business-like tone: "Is the house clean?" and
"Are there fresh flowers on the table?"
1. 1761 a family of itinerants from Navan were refused entry to Dublin. The family settled on the outskirts of the city and created the town of Rush. Two hundred and fifty years later, almost the entire population of Rush can still trace their roots back to this one family.
2. Balbriggan, Co. Dublin, was once the hosiery capital of the world. Around the turn of the century stockings and tights were widely known as 'Balbriggans'.
3. Every spring, more than twenty million eels swim into the River Bann to breed. The Bann is the longest river in Northern Ireland the total length being 80 miles (129 km). It winds its way from the south east corner of the province to the north west coast, pausing in the middle to widen into the enormous Lough Neagh.
First off, the answers to our last quiz:

1. Essays on the Early Irish Kings by Dan M. Wiley

2. Welcoming the Stranger: Hospitality in Contemporary Ireland by Andrew McGrady

3. Roddy Connolly and the Struggle for Socialism in Ireland by Charlie McGuire

A round of pints and applause to our latest literary sleuths:

John C. Laney
John didn't nominate a site so we looked one up that he - and you - might find interesting:

Kathleen O'Brien Blair
My husband Frank Blair, musician, historian, and one of the finest human beings I've ever known.
ED. NOTE: We listened to Frank singing The Galway Shawl; in our humble opinion, it was brilliant.

Pamela Shield Boyd
My favorite site is Live Ireland which allows you to listen to traditional or contemporary Irish music:

Christi Broersma
I'd like to nominate my Writings & Beyond site:

Patricia Edwards
A site we like to visit every year are the shrines at Walsingham - "England's Nazareth."

Kathy Fiddler
Upon the departure of a loved one of the family for over fifteen years, this site is visited by me when I'm feeling the loss is too great to bear. Perhaps someone else may be helped by it.

Want to see your name and favorite web site in our next newsletter?
Who wrote:
1. South of the Border
2. Good Times & Bad
3. Ella Young. Irish Mystic & Rebel
To begin with, the answer to our last head-banger:
A word I know, six letters it contains.
Subtract just one, and twelve is what remains.
Q.What is it?
A. Dozens.

Our Riddle People were out in full force on this one with literally loads of correct answers. Many thanks to all who gave it a whirl but first in was Bill Hurley from Hyannis, Mass. Well done, Bill! And now for our next mind-messer:
He starts and ends 2 common English words. One painful in love, One painful in everyday matter.
Q. What words might they be?
SPONSOR: Please help us keep the newsletter coming - visit our newest sponsor: St. Irish T-Shirts.
IRISH T-SHIRTS, SWEATSHIRTS & GIFTS are made with you in mind.* Irish Drinking T-shirts, St. Patrick's Day shirts or Proud to be Irish T Shirts. We have over 100 designs. We have designs for the whole family and all the relatives, too. Irish Dad T-Shirt, Irish Mom, Irish Grandpa, Grandma, and even t-shirts for the new Irish baby. We even have Saint Patrick's Day greeting cards.CLICK HERE for St. Patrick's Day T-Shirts and Funny Irish T-Shirt Designs:
NOTE: Made in and shipped from the USA
1. Article: irish Linen- The Cloth of Kings
2. Article: Two Charming Ladies of an Uncertain Age
3. Article: The Year of the Spud

4. Article: Who was Behind the Doors of Dublin?
5. Article: The Child of Prague
6. Article: Counties of Ireland - Cavan
7. Poetry Corner: Seamus Heaney
8. The Irish Kitchen: Grilled Mountain Lamb
9. Basic Irish - Spring Cleaning
10. Kids' Ireland: The Story of The little Bird
11. April Trivia Contest. The new contest is posted and all entries must be in by midnight on April 30 whatever time zone you're in:
Winner for March: Kate Davis USA who chose the Warrior Pendant from the Celtic Attic for her prize. Well done, Kate!
12. Circle of Prayer The fourth Novena in this cycle began on April 12 and continues through April 20. Whatever your spiritual leanings, please keep the following in your prayers or meditations: The family of Simon Shepherd RIP who recently died from a brain tumor; Kim, a young wife and mother who is severely brain damaged after a fall; Johanna Robarge; 
Mary Layman; Laurie Martin; Jane F; Baby Brenna; Liam Nolan's friend Kim Parker; Hartson Dowd, and little Isabella. Also Randy & Donna and their children; Ergin & his wife Joan; Josie and her family; Kathy, Pauline Dewberry, and so many others especially our men and women in the military serving their country all over the world. Please God, they will all be home safe and sound soon.
SPONSOR: Please help us keep the newsletter coming - visit our good friends at the Irish Lotto.
In operation since 1988, it's one of the oldest online lottery sites in the world. With subscribers in 89 countries it is also among the most reliable. Jackpots are never lower than US$1,500,000 and are frequently worth in excess of US$5,000,000 Here's the best part - you don't have to live in Ireland to play and all winnings are Tax Free!

Latest results: There was NO winner of Saturday's drawing. That means the jackpot next Wednesday should be in excess of € 10 Million Euro. It's always been our fantasy that one of our readers will scoop the big prize; but, as they say in Ireland, you can't win if you're not in. To play on line, please click http://www.irishlotto.net
So there you have it until next time. If you're celebrating a birthday, anniversary or other important event between now and then, we hope it's an occasion filled with joy and happiness. Meanwhile, we'll take our leave with these good wishes:

May strength be your brother,
and honor be your friend,
and luck be your companion
until we meet again.
And, as they say in Ireland, mind yourself.

Slan agus beannacht!

Bridget & Russ
Get down on your knees and thank God you're still on your feet!
Celtic Blessing - sung by the St. Coca's Choir, from Kilcock, Co. Kildare
Please check with the Wild Geese - they have a huge listing of events and we don't want to duplicate their efforts:
If we receive a unique event not mentioned there, we will be happy to list it here.

Limerick, ireland - April 18
Comedy siblings Kevin and Anne Gildea bring their unique comedy stylings together in one explosively funny show. This is grown-up comedy of the highest order. Belltable, Limerick, 8pm, Friday 18th April.
Please contact Anne Gildea on 087 2411 384 for further details.
Bookings 061 319 866

Hollywood, Florida - April 19
BLACK DIAMOND BAND on stage at the Irish American Ceili Club
7pm. For more details, please visit our web site:

Studio City, California - April 26
It's been ten years since actor Dermot Morgan (Father Ted) departed this life, RIP. To honor his memory, Maeves Residuals is holding a Father Ted Day and all are encouraged to join in the fun - prizes for best costumes! For complete details, please click

Dublin, IrelandApril 25/April 26
Dublin Dance Festival, Dance Ireland and Dance Theatre of Ireland present Block Party at Grand Canal Square. This short, colourful, vibrant piece is accompanied by live musicians and is suitable for all ages. It is a non-ticketed event. For more details, please click
To see a preview, please click

Los Alamitos, California
Friends of Ireland of Southern California Monthly Breakfast. Events are held on the 1st Tuesday of the month. Please call in RSVP to one of the contacts below, one day in advance so we can accommodate you.
Barbara Walsh (714) 739-4195 Kathy Wisdom (714) 572-8277
Tom Kennedy (562) 425-2636 Jim O'Dea (626) 965-0307

Portland, oregon
Ceili of the Valley Society - First Friday of the month Céilís and on-going Tuesday night Céilí and Sean Nós dance classes. Our season runs from October through June and next season we may be moving the dances to Saturday rather than Friday nights. For more details, please click

Eastern Caribbean Irish Genealogy Seminar Cruise - January 09
The Irish Ancestral Research Association is organizing an Irish genealogy cruise in January 2009 on Royal Caribbean's Independence of the Seas. Speakers include our friends Eileen & Sean O'Duill from Dublin. For complete details, please click

More amusement to the max with these one-liners from Maxine!

My husband and I divorced over religious differences. He thought he was God and I didn't.

I don't suffer from insanity; I enjoy every minute of it.

I used to have a handle on life, but it broke.

You're just jealous because the voices only talk to me

I'm not a complete idiot - Some parts are just missing.

Out of my mind.  Back in five minutes.

Consciousness: That annoying time between naps.

Ever stop to think, and forget to start again?

Being "over the hill" beats being under it!

Wrinkled Was Not One of the Things I Wanted to Be When I Grew up.

Procrastinate Now!

I Have a Degree in Liberal Arts; is that for here or to go?

Stupidity is not a handicap. Park elsewhere!

They call it PMS because Mad Cow Disease was already taken.

Ham and eggs: A day's work for a chicken, a lifetime commitment for a pig.

The trouble with life is there's no background music.

I smile because I don't know what the hell is going on.

Save the earth, it's the only planet with chocolate.

Never go to bed angry - stay up and plot your revenge

Don't believe everything you think.

I don't know what your problem is, but I bet it's hard to pronounce.

You're not yourself today. I noticed the improvement immediately

As long as there are tests, there will be prayer in public schools.

I may be old, but people who look like me always win the lottery.

Did you enjoy this edition of our newsletter? Fingers crossed you did and you'd like to keep it coming. A tangible way to do that is with a small voluntary donation. Any amount is welcome. And go raibh maith agat in advance for your kindness!

Bridget & Russ
5814 Blue Spruce
Cincinnati, OH 45224
Or you can make a contribution on PayPal to this email address:
God bless you for your kindness and generosity!